03/20/2007 11:00PM

Fonner: Williams the younger headed West


The father-son jockey rivalry comes to an end this weekend, as apprentice Dylan Williams will pack up his tack and move to Southern California next week after accepting an offer from agent Jim Pegram to try his hand on the major racing circuit.

Williams's father, jockey R.D. Williams, said that the decision to relocate was made Tuesday, and that Dylan will travel west with his mother, Michelle.

"I'll stay here and get some of my horses back," the elder Williams joked. "If he doesn't catch on, then he can always come back here in six weeks and go to Canterbury."

Dylan Williams's grandfather Larry Donlin will base his stable at Canterbury.

The younger Williams was the guest on announcer Steve Anderson's press-box radio show Wednesday morning and said he was ready to try his hand against the big boys at Santa Anita.

"There's some great riders out there, and I respect them a lot, but I won't be intimidated," said Williams. "If it goes good, I'll ride at Santa Anita, Hollywood, and Del Mar then maybe try to go to New York in the fall."

Williams said that New York-based jockey Channing Hill "is a good friend of mine, and I try to talk to him a lot. He's helped me out a lot.

"I really want to thank a lot of the people on the backside here and especially the gate crew," Williams added. "They've helped me out for a couple years, letting me work horses and be around the gate. My dad's given me a lot of horses to ride, too."

Williams enters this weekend at second in the rider standings with 21 wins, 4 behind Dennis Collins and 1 in front of his father.

* Tanner Riggs, fourth in the rider standings with 19 wins, has also enjoyed a good start to the season here. Riggs finished his apprenticeship last fall, finishing sixth in the standings at Canterbury Park with 35 wins. He was also fourth at Fonner last year with 34 wins and is well on his way to eclipsing that mark.

* Wayne Blue, a longtime trainer in Midwest racing circles, died last Monday in Lincoln, Neb., at age 73. Visitation was scheduled for 9 a.m. to 9 p.m Thursday at Butherus, Maser, and Love Funeral Home in Lincoln. A funeral service is to be Saturday at Elliot Mortuary in Hutchinson, Kan. Blue is survived by his wife, Lori, four daughters, and a stepdaughter. Blue trained and raced horses for 59 years.

* Fred Ecoffey returned to work in the racing office this week after going through open-heart surgery shortly before the season started in February.